Participatory mechanisms are vital to the effective functioning of a strong democracy because it emphasizes the participation of citizens with decision making. If we did not have them, then there really wouldn’t be a democracy. Democracies are made especially for the citizens; in a way the people create the democracy as well.
Without the people’s votes, what kind of democracy do we have? I mean, realistically, although they say “our votes count”, it actually doesn’t have a huge impact on electoral voting. Yea America wants us to believe that our votes determine who we have serving for out Presidency, but in actuality the people do not have the last say so. I am not saying that America does not believe in using involved mechanisms (citizens of America) to help build a strong democracy, but I believe it is all an image thing. America wants to make a good impression on other countries.
Now we know that other countries around the world have horrible democracies, most are really dictatorships. The citizens and people in those countries have very little to no input on how things will be dictated. This is what makes America a little bit better with democracy. I just could not imagine living in other countries where their citizens are basically being slaves to their president or leader. We have freedom of speech here in America and to lose or even not have that right is dreadful. So this makes me think about how terrible the people have it and I wonder if these countries had a little more democracy, would things be a little better. I know I said America doesn’t completely have a strong democracy, but to an extent we do. If the other countries would give it a chance and allow the citizens to participate in decision making, maybe then the “over seekers” could see how the people feel and what exactly needs to be done in order to have a better running democracy. Not saying all countries don’t allow their citizens to get involved, but those that don’t, this might be a good thing for them.
Participatory mechanisms are vital for anything that involves the citizens or the audience of which it pertains to. That’s just like selling merchandise. The seller always wants an input from the user/buyers. This way the seller knows what they should or should not do with the items they sell. You want to get an input from outsiders to let you know what is good and what is bad about your product. This is sort of how American democracy works. They ask the citizens how they feel about certain issues or people, and this helps determine how strong out democracy will be. Although, most times the voice of the people just isn’t enough to get the government/ democracy to choose the correct things.
Despite the downfalls, participatory mechanisms play a very vital role in effective functioning of a strong democracy. As citizens of America, we may not understand the democracy completely, but knowing that our votes go towards electing or decision making will have an impact on building the democracy. They may have the last say so, but they still see and hear the people and their opinions.
Going a whole day without using my electronics was close to being one of the toughest things I have ever had to do. After this experiment I realized how important electronics have become to our lives today. During the whole spring break I was out of town in Dallas and San Antonio Texas. I chose to do my experiment on the Saturday before I came back home and I think this was a huge mistake.
On this day I traveled by car from San Antonio, Texas back to Dallas so that I could catch my flight back to Nashville on Sunday morning. I started the experiment at about 1:00 AM Saturday and I was going to continue on through the day and night until 1:00 AM Sunday morning. When I first started the experiment at 1AM I wasn’t extremely sleepy so I would normally sit up on my phone and listen to music until I felt myself shutting down, but since I could not use my electronics, this alone was difficult and it was only the beginning. Now that I am lying down with nothing to do I began to hum to myself (substituting the music and headphones that I am used to) and felt a little jittery. I constantly tossed and turned in my sleep and found myself doing a TON of thinking out loud and in my head. Unfortunately, this particular night the temperature in the room was very uncomfortable so I was hot and bothered all together. Eventually I fell asleep somehow, but I am still not sure how.
Later that Saturday morning I woke up around 10:00 AM. Not being able to roll over and grab my phone to check my messages, notifications, time, and weather was really depressing. The most important thing for me was the time and weather. These are the two things I commonly check often in the morning while I am getting dressed, so not being able to do this really sucked. I had to check the temperature by stepping outside on the patio and asking my aunt to check the weather for later in the evening and the time; my day was not starting off good. After suffering through the morning, not being able to check anything on my phone or the news, we started to head back to Dallas, TX. This drive from San Antonio, TX to Dallas, TX is about a 4 1/12 hour drive. I had no clue why I decided to do it on this day when I would REALLY need/want to listen to music and use electronics for a distraction on the ride back, but I did. So to keep myself occupied I stopped and picked up a word search puzzle book. I was going to get a book to read, but I could not find any interesting books in Walgreens and we had to hit the road so I this was my only option. Somehow I made it through the four hour drive without using ANY electronics, but I had a hard time resisting the urge to get my phone out with the constant thought about how bad I needed my phone and iPad right now. Sadly, something came over me as soon as we got into Dallas. We stopped at a furniture store and I could no longer resist it. I gave in and used my phone. I don’t know what came over me even though I lasted this long; I could not go any longer without checking my phone. So, I did not successfully go a full day without using my electronics. They are so important for everyday tasks; I just could not see myself going this long or any long amount of time without using electronics. We have become so accustomed to using them we don’t realize that they are now a necessity.
From this reading there were two very distinct differences between filter-style blogs and journal-style blogs. Basically, a filter-style blog is a blog where a group of individuals can rant and give their own opinions about a specific topic/discussion from multiple links given for them to view. Whereas the journal –style blogs are generally like free writing. The blogger is able to write down their own personal thoughts about any and everything. Journal-style writers are able to discuss silly topics like how their day went, or what they had for dinner, etc. There is more of a relaxed and casual approach when you read or write journal-style blogs. Filter-style blogs have one main focus on one main topic to discuss, causing multiple discussions to be taken place within this blog. Sometimes you even have people bashing at each other for having personal opinions.
In filter-style blogs, you have one main person or source that is giving the bloggers a topic on which everyone will put in their two cents. Tumblr was one social network that I thought of when I discovered what filter-style blogging is. Most posts on Tumblr are from people who have found these links or posts and are sharing them with their “followers”. Once you post the link or picture, someone can then add in their own commentary on your post (which they repost on their page) and then the cycle just continues to go on. This allows numerous bloggers to add in their inputs, as if everyone is giving personal feedback or arguing. This style of blogging functions more like an open discussion for all of the web users to come and bash or praise the topic of discussion. Filter-style blogs do not have the same functions as journal-style blogs.
In journal-style blogs, the “blogger” or person posting the blogs usually writes about random discussions or events. Something as simple as what the blogger thought about a book they recently read or how they are feeling on a certain day can be something you would expect to see in a journal-style blog. The writer is more open to sharing their own personal world with the outside world. This style of blogging is similar to having a personal diary or journal, but in this case, you are sharing the information that you want to share from your diary. The information may not be something important or valuable to society, but it has some meaning to the blogger/ is for their personal pleasure. The person may also reflect on something serious going on in the world, but it’s not for people to come and rant or bash the post, like you might see in a filter-style blog. This is what separates the two types of blogs. Filter-style blogs commonly consist of links that take you from one site to another or you’ll see ten people debating or arguing about someone else’s opinion, while journal-style blogs typically only consists of personal information that may be relatable to some people, but for the most part just for entertainment.
This debate over broadband networks has sparked up a huge controversy between many big name networks and providers. AT&T is one of the biggest cable and internet providers as well as one of the first to carry broadband internet. They have bought out so many companies that have been relevant during this whole “era of technology and internet”. I believe the dispute about how the future of communication media will be in general has a lot to do with who will be in charge of distributing these internet services and how we will be receiving them. We have many broadband networks and they are able to put restrictions and different prices on the internet as well as the cable services. I think this threat of “controlling” the internet usage and how much you are paying for it is really the big issue.
As we all know, having cable comes with having a “package”. The cable providers give us limited options on how and what we get with the cable. You cannot pick and choose specific stations/channels that you want, although you do have the option of adding on the premium and sports channels. This same method is what is being used with the broadband networks. They are only giving us certain data plans and rates, in result, we are not really choosing for ourselves so this also can have an effect on the change in communication media. Now, many new cable providers are offering internet and cable services together. So now, with more companies transforming into broadband networks, we will really be getting ripped off for the money we pay to get the internet and cable services. With so many companies being bought out, our options are slowly beginning to decrease. I can see it now; soon we will only have maybe one or two main providers for broadcast internet and cable services; let’s not forget about phone services. Many of the providers now (like AT&T) offer the phone services, that we oh so love. With technology and mass communication becoming such an important aspect of life, adding fees on to the internet and cable plans could potentially be an option for broadband networks. They could possibly begin to limit their options down to something so governing as making people purchase cell phone services along with their internet and cable. This way they can easily control our internet usage on the phones as well as on the computers, all while secretly taking our money. We may think that we are getting a good deal for the internet and other services they are offering, but are we really? Wasn’t internet something opened to the public for free? Why should people have to continue to pay these ridiculous fees and still end up with slowed down “4G and/or high speed” internet? I shouldn’t be limited to the amount of high speed internet I use. This dispute about the future of broadband networks certainly can affect not only the internet, but also the communication media in general.
Convergence is transforming the nature of communication, causing the term “mass communication” to be possibly reexamined. Convergence is changing the way we receive mass communication. We are used to conveying messages through words, pictures, and sound, but with converged media it is a more digital process. Mass communication is a broad form of communicating whether it is television, radio, phone, newspaper, etc. Therefore, I can see why the term “mass communication” is currently under reexamination. With technology advancing and so many things being used digitally, some forms of mass communication may end up changing or even be disregarded all together. Let’s first use the news as an example of how convergence is transforming the nature of mass communication.
In the older days, important news was always broadcasted on live television and through newspapers. So the only way you were going to find out about the latest breaking news story would be through the mouths of the broadcasters themselves and the newspaper. When a breaking story has been televised to the world, the only way people could find out more information about the story was to just sit and wait on the news to give out more details; but oh how that has changed today. Now, with the advancing digital technology and internet that we have, it is much more accessible for the public to find out information quickly. The internet hosts hundreds and thousands of online resources and sites to get information about anything you need to know, so less people are relying on the news stations to give them more details about specific topics. A person can easily Google search a breaking story and discover more information on their own. Digital technology has also changed the way we market.
Marketing started out as a very personal or face-to-face type of situation. Often, businesses or organizations that wanted to advertise and sell any products or services that they offered had to go out and talk with the people on the streets (for an example I’ll use Girl Scout cookies). The old “traditional” way of selling cookies is for the girl scouts to go out to the neighborhoods and go door to door selling their cookies. With the viral marketing and technology we have today, I am sure fewer girls are seen walking around your neighborhood selling cookies. You can easily purchase your Girl Scout cookies by going through some online website or even through social media. I guarantee if you get on your Twitter account and tweet, “Hey, does anyone know where I could purchase some Girl Scout cookies?” there will be someone to respond to you with information on how to get the cookies directly. It’s all about viral marketing and word-of-mouth advertising. If you get one person to tell one more person and they get one more person to tell someone else, before you know it the word is spread around. That is exactly how social media works with news and advertising. It is much easier to communicate nowadays. Analog mass communication and digital mass communication are the two reasons why convergence is taking over the nature of mass communication; we are becoming a more digital world.
Understanding what is public and private online and how it coordinates with the virtual and real world is based on the person and their views on what is considered public and what private. People all over the world use the internet to exploit their own fantasies and their realities. Let’s use Facebook and online chat rooms for example. Most Facebook users are posting true information about themselves and who they are. They use real pictures, their normal and sometimes intellectual thoughts, and overall “real world” personality. On the other hand, most of the people in online chat rooms are those who like to role play and become someone else; this virtual world allows a person to do so. It all depends on the person posting information about themselves online and how readers take in that information. In an online chat room (where people create their own virtual fantasies) more people are posting what most would consider private and intimate information because they have the privacy to do so in the virtual world. Versus on Facebook where you have hundreds of friends viewing your page, it causes the information that you post to be realistic since your page is more open to the public.
In chapter 2, the young lady .Zannah. was an online blogger who gave off misconceptions about who she is to the outside world looking in. On her blog page she had some information about herself that might be considered out of the norm for the real world, but could be the norm for the virtual world. On the other hand her personal home page displayed a very normal twenty year old. Nothing out of the ordinary that would cause someone to think she had some issues going on inside of her head. Then again, all of the things we see in the virtual world are not always true either; we just have to be able to separate what is allowed in the virtual and what is allowed in the real world. You can’t go into the real world having a virtual world or unrealistic mentality. Certain things are just meant to stay on the web and some things are meant to stay in the real world. There are so many ways of getting into trouble online if you say the wrong things. You might see it as a harmless sense of humor, but someone else could see it as a potential threat to the real world. So you have to separate the private and public information when you are online. It may be confusing to some people on how to separate the public and private cyber life, but it’s just something that you have to learn how to do when you become involved in the cyber world. The things you keep private in the real world are sometimes the things you would make public in the cyber world. People hide behind a screen online, making it easier for them to speak about things that wouldn’t be so easy to say in the real world. So I believe more people get confused and think the things kept private in the real world , but public online, should be all together public. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You have to have some limitations.